We’re Shaking in the Tribulation
Well, that’s what Japanese Christians are thinking. Let’s put it into perspective what this massive 9.0 earthquake, one of the most powerful and devastating on record, may be saying:
- The quake triggered more than 160 aftershocks in the first 24 hours -- 141 measuring 5.0-magnitude or more.
- the Earth's crust ruptured along an area about 250 miles (400 kilometers) long by 100 miles (160 kilometers) wide, as tectonic plates slipped more than 18 meters
- The quake moved the main island of Japan by 8 feet (2.4 meters) and shifted the Earth on its axis
- It caused the formation of 30-foot walls of water that swept across rice fields, engulfed entire towns, dragged houses onto highways, and tossed cars and boats like toys. Some waves reached six miles (10 kilometers) inland in Miyagi Prefecture on Japan's east coast
- It triggered tsunami warnings and alerts for 50 countries and territories as far away as the western coasts of Canada, the U.S. and Chile
- Tremendous loss of life
- Triggered volcanic activity
- It caused nuclear power plant melt-downs
Who wouldn’t think they were in the tribulation, even the great tribulation period if they were going through this? Even people not living in Japan are wondering if we are in the last days.
We are. But, let’s do some separation here. We are in the last days—not the last day. What’s the difference? Plenty! How we respond is of the utmost importance. The Prophet Malachi describes the last day as great and terrible. Even as great and terrible as this earthquake is, we are not in what Malachi is describing. We are in what the Prophet Joel describes—events containing signs and wonders in the last days before the great and awesome day of the Lord. Jesus called this a time of sorrows—a period of time just before the tribulation. Now, as bad as this is, multiply that many times to get a picture of what will take place in the last day—the time of the actual tribulation. At the opening of the sixth seal in the book of Revelation comes an earthquake, and during this tribulation period the word earthquake is mentioned seven times within five verses. The picture John the Revelator gives of these tribulation-period earthquakes are beyond the shaking we see in Japan, Christchurch, Haiti, and Chile. The Bible says the earth will reel to and fro as a drunkard (Isaiah 24:20). The axis tilt will be measured in kilometers, not centimeters!
Just as a woman approaches the birth of her child, the signs that the event is eminent are measured by the frequency and intensity of the birth pains. Paul describes this beautifully in Romans 8:22, “For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”
Here’s the problem that happens in catastrophic events: Christians look inwardly seeking self-preservation rather than reaching out to make a difference in the world before the baby gets here. They are storing up rice and beans and buying up gold and silver preparing to wait out the hard times. The hard times are when the church should shine and be about the Master’s business. This is the time for the church to fulfill its prophetic role as the church. We are so focused on seven short years; we aren’t looking at the thousand years following! We are missing out on the best opportunities to grow and shine as light and we are failing to father this for the next generation. The tribulation doesn’t end it for us! It’s the beginning and it’s the utmost opportunity for us to function as the supernatural, God-created, God-breathed, new creations full of the Spirit of God, might and power who should be going about doing good and healing all who are oppressed of the devil. I don’t have any gold or silver stored up. I want to walk like Peter and John who healed the sick, raised the dead, who made a difference and made an impact for the kingdom of God. They didn’t hide. Quit hiding! Get out and do what God has ordained for you to do!
Earlier I wrote, “How we respond is of the utmost importance.” The Japanese are dealing with a tribulation of huge proportions. We need to be the church and respond. Just as a revival followed in Haiti because the church responded, a revival can and should take place in Japan. We need to do what we can to make that happen. Only a few can go, but many can support and all can pray and intercede. Beyond that, we need to get a clue where all this is headed. The momma is working on giving birth. The pains, or signs, will increase in frequency and intensity—so we need to be prepared to be the church and flood this earth like mad ants with the supernatural power of God to make a difference by pushing back darkness and extending the kingdom of God. We are not living for the seven years of destruction that is coming, but for the 1,000 years of reigning that is coming. The signs of the end are intended to be springs to propel us into the ministry of reaching the lost by being God’s impact on the world. That’s what this earthquake is saying. Are you ready? Well, get ready then!
Let’s read what Paul said in Romans 8:22-25 in the Message:
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it's not only around us; it's within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We're also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
Think about it.